Friday, December 18, 2009

Feed-your-head Friday

Lightning bolts, river deltas and dust bunnies! Welcome to the world of fractal dimensions.

Editorial: Is APS reacting to conservation savings?

Sometimes I despair that the unnamed Courier editor is even capable of seeing past I-me-mine. Today's editorial notes that people are conserving energy (a good thing), and that APS wants higher rates (a normal thing), and jumps to another logic-free connection.

Perhaps someone should explain to the editor that people are conserving energy because they need to save money. If energy were cheaper, we'd have less conservation.

Meanwhile the fuels that APS uses are increasingly expensive and supplies are inevitably diminishing. The grid system we all rely on for electric power is technologically Stone Age and under-maintained, raising both fixed and labor costs. Shareholders demand profits, so managers must demand prices. That's just how it is. Reducing electricity use does not reduce generation -- the potential across the wires is always the same. So the only way to reduce costs in response to conservation is to reduce capacity, by taking generators offline. We're a long way from that kind of savings, and it'll probably never happen to any significant degree. What actually happens is that most of what we don't use here is used somewhere else. The rest is simply wasted as unused potential.

I have to say that higher energy prices -- prices that more faithfully reflect the true costs of the stupid system we have -- are good for us in that they force us to conserve and allow sensible alternatives to compete. Any sane projection for the future includes far higher prices for fossil fuels. Let's get used to it, and make lemonade.

CYMPO reaffirms elimination of Verde River crossing

Here's another case of failing to ask the most basic question. Cindy's CYMPO story covers the players on one side of the issue at length. But where is the quote from ADOT on why the river crossing is still on their maps? One phone call.

Fortune of events center ails with the economy

Notice anything missing from this story? It's the fans, the people the Fains have been counting on to make this unlikely venture work. Ken apparently asks questions of no one but those who are working to sell the idea. Consequently the reader can't trust anything in the article as fact.

Speaking as someone who's done a lot of shows, big and small, I've said from the beginning that the arena would quickly devolve to white-elephant status. Six thousand seats is just too big for people in this area, even including optimistic hopes of visitors, to reliably support. I grew up in an area where minor-league hockey is relatively popular and familiar, and I've seen how counting on that usually leads to bankruptcy. Trying to sell music in a barn like this one is iffy at best, and most ticket-buyers wind up hating it. The optimistic (for developers) population projections that sold Global Entertainment on the area are proving wildly wrong. It won't be long, I expect, before Global cuts its losses and pulls out, leaving PV with the question of what to do with the building. Maybe there's an opportunity here.

Maybe Ken's second half will include the other side of the story. I'll keep an eye out.

Update, Tuesday: Never happened. I'm so surprised.